scandinavia: helsinki and porvoo, finland

The story? I edited these photos and wrote drafts of this Scandinavia series during the pandemic... and forgot to post them. So here they are, almost 4 years after the trip in 2019. I enjoyed rewriting and reliving the memories through the whole process, and I hope you enjoy and get something out of it too. 🧡

What you'll find here

Tour Itinerary

Of course by my favorite, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines! 😀
Manila - Amsterdam - Helsinki
Copenhagen - Amsterdam - Manila

The Tour
All arranged by Kuoni Global Travel Services which is a global group travel provider. Kuoni offers customized group tours.

Rainy Amsterdam

I came back from a summer trip in the Balkans just a few weeks before this trip and the weather changed altogether. It was the second week of September and we were greeted by rains and winds both in Amsterdam and when we arrived in Helsinki. It wasn't winter weather, but it's cold and wet and just--not my type. Good thing I had my own full battery of sunshine and warmth from home. It reconfirmed my preference of too hot rather than too cold. (Okay, so much for weather intro!)

A thing I had to be reminded of is that group tour itineraries are usually packed. It's both a good thing and a bad thing--good because you get to go to a lot of places and very conveniently, bad because you can't stay in a place long enough to be comfortable with; you're always on the go. So in total, we did Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark for 10 days including flights.

SO! First off... Finland!

I learned while arranging the trip that Finland is not really part of Scandinavia. This country is named several times as the happiest country in the world. I guess that's because their society is pretty much established. They have high tax rates, high rental fees--high cost of living--but they're confident that their system works.

We stayed only in the south and as much as I'd like to go to Lapland, I think that's best done in a separate trip.

We had a half day tour the day we arrived and we briefly dropped by the Helsinki Cathedral in Senate Square.

Alexander II, czar when Finland was a part of the Russian Empire

That afternoon we went to Temppeliaukio Church which amazed me. It was built directly on a rock thus it's also called Rock Church.

We passed by a souvenir shop with this reindeer in front. Souvenirs in this part of Europe are costly, so better get something that doesn't break nor too heavy that you'll leave it at the airport (over your limit of baggage).

It was raining so we didn't go out to the park, but we did view the Sibelius Monument from afar. I would to see the monument up close.

The next day we went to Porvoo which is about an hour from Helsinki. It's an old, small, charming town of wooden houses and cobbled streets. It's the second oldest city in Finland (after Turku). I would've loved to spend a day here in sunshine and have coffee outdoors afterwards.

Porvoo Cathedral
I wished I bought more chocolates 😀

We went straight to the ferry terminal in Helsinki. We spent the night aboard Silja Symphony going to Stockholm in Sweden. It was my very first cruise ride in Europe and it was fun! We got to stay in a small room without a view (but with a very pretty wall picture of the sea haha). The toilet/shower in the room was very small as well and I'm a short person myself. Space was utilized very efficiently though.

We were toured around the ship for a bit. It has several restaurants, and a big buffet one where everyone had breakfast. I ate maybe an hour after the opening and it was calmer. We were early for dinner the night before and it was so busy. It has a tax free superstore where I bought, what else--chocolates! Oh and there's also a spa.

I got to experience being a bit of seasick for once too. I don't really get motion sickness, but winds in this part of Europe are terribly strong so I guess that's understandable.

Nope, not my room! 😄

Went up the front deck of the ship before it started moving. Helsinki in sunlight is beautiful. 💛

Accommodation in Helsinki

Clean and modern. Very good location too.


Apparently I don't have photos of our dinner here. But if you're in Helsinki city center, this is a good place to eat.

Right in front of the Helsinki Cathedral, you won't miss this place. First two days in the trip in, we knew what our staple food will be--salmon and meatballs. And I have absolutely no complaints!

Salmon soup
Finnish meatballs with mashed potatoes
My favorite! Homemade apple pie with vanilla sauce 😍

On board Silja Symphony, we tried sitting on the deck and chat. We did for a while even though the wind was so strong and a bit cold. This Somersby cider made it okay.

Finland was a great preview of the rest of the trip. Would love to go back and explore more places one day!

This is a work trip that I started organizing a year in advance.

This post is part of the Scandinavia series. All transportation, accommodation, itinerary, and meals are sponsored by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Kuoni Global Travel Services.


No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think?